PETALING JAYA, Nov 11 — After weeks of speculations, Petaling Jaya (PJ) City FC today, finally confirmed their exit from the Malaysian Super League next season.

Club president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal said the decision was not due the financial reasons, but the direction of the restructured Malaysian League (M-League) in 2023, which would not augur well for the club’s goals.

He said it is mainly due to the increase of the foreign import quota from five to nine players, as PJ City is the only team in the M-League’s first tier to field 100 per cent local talents since 2021 season.

Subahan said club owner, QI Group, welcomes any interested parties to take over the team rights and licence to compete in the 2023 Super League.

“We wish to stress that the decision was not due to financial problems but the football environment which will become more tricky with the restructuring of the M-League from next season especially on raising import player quota.

“We respect the decision taken by MFL (Malaysia Football League), who knows better as the leaders of football. This doesn’t mean we are leaving football, we will still be doing development, talent scouts, grooming players and feed them to the national team and clubs,” he said in a press conference here, today.

Subahan said, the decision on QI Group’s role in football after leaving the Super League will be made after a board meeting on a later date.

Subahan also admitted that, running a football club in Malaysia is not a profitable business, as teams are usually supported by state governments to delight their fans and for political interests.

Meanwhile, he said about RM2.5 million has been invested to upgrade their home venue, the MBPJ Stadium, with a new pitch, synthetic running track and changing rooms.

If no other parties are willing to take over PJ City, the 2023 Super League, which is supposed to have 18-teams, might only have 15-teams competing after Melaka United and Sarawak United failed to obtain MFL license due to financial issues.

After the restructure, MFL will allow teams in the Super League to register nine foreign players, but they will have to adhere to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC)’s stipulation of using only six import players.

MFL, however, will continue to allow only five import players to be fielded, which is three plus one Asian player and one Asean player, at any one time while only one import player can be on the bench.

Formerly known as Malaysian Indian Football Association (MIFA) when competing in the FAM League (third tier) and Premier League, PJ City made their Super League debut in 2019 and competed with 100 per cent local players in the past two seasons.

Despite not fielding foreign players like their rivals who use the maximum quota, the Phoenix squad still managed to give a decent challenge in the 12-team Super League, finishing eighth in 2019, seventh in 2020 and 2021, as well as ninth place finish this season. — Bernama